Fargo Adds Ted Danson, Jean Smart and Patrick Wilson for Season 2

Fargo‘s Emmy cred just got even deeper.

The FX crime drama, which scored 18 nominations and three wins last year (including Outstanding Miniseries) is adding multiple Emmy winners Ted Danson and Jean Smart, plus Golden Globe nominee Patrick Wilson, to its Season 2 cast, the network announced today.

Season 2, set in 1979, will serve as a prequel, with Wilson taking on the role of Lou Solverson, who was played by Keith Carradine in Season 1. Wilson’s Lou is described as “a clean cut Minnesota State Patrolman, four years back from Vietnam, where he served in the Navy. A humble and competent man, Lou is a devoted husband to his wife and father to four-year-old Molly” (aka the girl who’ll grow up to be Allison Tolman’s Season 1 breakout character).

Danson will play Hank Larsson, “the Sheriff of Rock County, Minnesota. An unflappable WWII vet who embodies a certain cowboy poetry, Hank is Lou’s father-in-law.”

Smart has been cast as Floyd Gerhardt, “the matriarch of the Gerhardt crime family. She’s stood by her husband’s side for 40 years, but now that he’s out of the picture, she thinks it’s her turn to run things.”

Fargo Season 2 begins production on Jan. 19, at which point Danson will have wrapped filming CSI’s truncated, 18-episode season.

Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons were cast last month in the roles of Peggy Blomquist, “a small town beautician with big city dreams” and her husband Ed, “a butcher’s assistant who wants to be supportive of his wife’s self-discovery, even if he doesn’t quite understand it.”

Nick Offerman, Brad Garrett, Kieran Culkin, Bokeem Woodbine, Jeffrey Donovan and Angus Sampson will also recur in Season 2.

The expanded logline for Season 2 is as follows: The all new “true crime” case of Fargo’s new chapter travels back to 1979 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Luverne, Minnesota, where a young State Police Officer Lou Solverson (Wilson), recently back from Vietnam, investigates a case involving a local crime gang and a major Mob syndicate. Helping him piece things together is his father-in-law, Sheriff Hank Larsson (Danson). The investigation will lead them to a colorful cast of characters that includes Karl Weathers (Offerman), the town lawyer of Luverne. A Korean War vet, Karl is a flowery drunk blessed with the gift of gab and the eloquence of a true con artist. Three-time Emmy winner Garrett will play Joe Bulo, the front man for the northern expansion of a Kansas City crime syndicate. The new face of corporate crime, Joe’s bringing a Walmart mentality to small town America. His number two is Mike Milligan (Woodbine). Part enforcer, part detective, Mike is always smiling – but the joke is usually on you. Bulo and his crew have their sights set on the Gerhardt crime family in Fargo, currently led by matriarch Floyd Gerhardt (Smart). With her husband at death’s door, Floyd takes over the family business, frustrating her eldest son, Dodd Gerhardt (Donovan). An impatient hothead with a cruel streak to match his ambitions, Dodd can’t wait for both his parents to die so he can take over and expand their business from kingdom to empire. Bear Gerhardt (Sampson) is the middle son, an intimidatingly large man who, although inarticulate, is the most decent of his clan. Rye Gerhardt (Culkin), the youngest of the Gerhardt clan, views himself as a big shot, but in reality he’s just a small dog who barks big.

The new batch of episodes will be influenced by the Cohen brothers’ Fargo, Miller’s Crossing and The Man Who Wasn’t There, executive producer Noah Hawley revealed at the show’s TCA panel in July.

Fargo is slated to return to the FX lineup in the fall.

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